When we adopted Harley into our lives we understood that she was a very special dog because of her background. She was such a loving and affectionate girl but Harley never really learnt to play – either with toys or even with other dogs. Sure, she got along well with animals and people of all shapes, sizes, ages and breeds but she was a reserved girl nonetheless – certainly not the type to chase a ball. We just accepted that this was Harley.
It was with a lot of trepidation that we introduced Darby into our household some nine months later. Without having been privy to his background it felt as though we invited the unknown – and in a way we did. Darby was small. Underweight, confused and scared of people (especially me towering over him at 6ft) it took a bit to get Darby settled but we were thrilled to see an instantaneous bond between he and Harley. As Darby’s health returned his personality broke through and we found an affectionately clingy and playful little man.
Whatever his background, Darby certainly loves squeaky toys. We have never kept any toys in the house because they would be useless on Miss Harley, so we only discovered this penchant for plastic as a photographer tried to get Darby to pose for a shoot we participated in. Darby loves hearing the toys squeak, loves holding them in his mouth and walking around proudly and he happily relinquishes them so I can throw and he can retrieve.
We’ll never know if Darby used to have his own toys before coming to live with us or if he was even allowed to play. Maybe it’s an instinct thing? Whatever the case, it made me smile to present him with his very own squeeker. But it made me smile even wider when I watched him, after having a good play, climb up on the lounge and place his squeeker next to a sleeping Harley so she would see it when she woke. It’s your turn. I’ll teach you to play, Harley.